Barefoot Spirituality

Would it help for someone to understand my intimacy with Gaia, the journey to reach my own sacredness and the on-going path into personal spirituality? I know that one of my joys is to read of other’s spiritual journeys and beliefs, for that opens me into my own wholeness. And so I write of my journey on this path–in my books and on this blog–to share, to commune with the energy of others.

I don’t follow one faith or religion or system. I’m far too questioning — far too much of a seeker straddling a rickety fence as I cross one more field — to embrace fully someone else’s path. But, and this is significant for me, I value something in every path of Spirit I’ve read about or witnessed because of core similarities. And I know that there are many concerns in cultural groups, in indigenous peoples, in ethnic families and tradition, as well as in established religions — concerns that picking out what is appealing may be viewed as disrespectful, but I absolutely do have deep respect for these other systems and traditions.

Yet, perhaps I am genetically disposed to always be journeying along a more eclectic and individualized path in approaching the Divine. Because I am a hybrid, a melting-pot American who lives and expresses the genetic memories of German, English, Scots, Black Dutch, and various tribes of Native American, do I wander back and forth more easily? And those are only the links I am aware of; there are probably more.

I grew up without ethnicity or cultural heritage other than ‘white, working-class American.’ And, while I was raised into a particular religion, it never resonated. The Divine within me remained asleep like Snow White, waiting for the kiss of the one I would recognize. And She was years coming. I needed to grow and learn more about this personality housing my soul before I would feel Her awaken within and provide guidance upon a spiritual path.

But when she finally opened Her eyes (or I opened mine), our love and my remembrance was instant. She had been with me all along; I knew that at once. And yet, while I recognized Her, and followed at first the path of those who shared their own journeys and systems of belief, I found before long that the Divine within me couldn’t be fenced in here either, no more than my nature could. Neither of us could handle being penned up or caged, defined or labeled. And so we took the next fork in the trail, together, knowing our journey of discovery was personal and individual and solitary.

I knew that I might never find a ‘perfect fit’ and that was fine. It’s okay. I would try on spiritual shoes, boots, sandals, moccasins, all shapes and sizes. Some feel comfortable for a while, but then I have to pull them off and walk barefoot once more, without restriction or fancy designs by someone else. Some got too tight, cutting off my circulation with their pointy-toed sharp looks; some became floppy, loose and I fell out of them because they made no sense to me; some were heavy and I felt that I couldn’t walk on my own path at all. All were valued for the temporary support they provided in various ways, but not for me to wear long-term. I learned about beauty with pain, about fluidity within form and function, about structural support limiting freedom. Not in struggle against them were they valued but because I experienced or witnessed the joy they brought to those wearing them quite happily as they walked with compassion. I just needed to be barefoot in my own spirituality.

And Gaia has supported me every step along this path, always kind. As long as I continue to honor the gifts of those spiritual paths traveled by others, respect their beauty and depths, and the love within the mysteries and stories they hold so dear, I know all is well. I feel peace in the exploration.

Gaia has many faces and places. And, for me, She is here within and everywhere I walk feeling the earth beneath my feet, the wind in my hair, the sun on my skin, and the rain cooling my face. Her smile is infinity, and we won’t be fenced in.

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